Given the wide variety in the age and performance of the boats and skippers in this race it's normal that there will be breakaways, chasing groups, and to continue with the nod to cycling, the main peloton. With Arnaud on La Mie Câline I have been pushing the pace at the front of our peloton to try to break away from those behind before entering into stormy south because miles made here will pay cash later.
It's a rich gets richer world and the proof is in the weather forecasts! The leaders have drawn a beautiful curve from Brazil to the Antarctic Exclusion Zone (AEZ) by shaving the edge of the St Helena high (the permanent South Atlantic High pressure zone) and have now linked up with their first depression and are off. The chasers (me!) are out of sync with this dream scenario and have to negotiate a ridge of high pressure pushed out from the St Helena high so we'll be battling calms and shifts in the same waters that the leaders were flying through only a couple of days before.
However, in this solitary battle against the elements it's great to have a friend nearby. Yesterday Stephane overtook me quite close and we were able to have a long chat on the VHF radio and exchange a few stories from our race so far. Stephane is a friend and an experienced competitor with a newer, faster boat so I am happy to have him act as a measuring stick for the rest of the race. With the wind dropping I was able to change sails and slowly but surely draw back his lead through the night and I am now further south than he is and still going faster. The lighter winds should favour my skinnier boat so I hope I can choose the good way through the minefield ahead so we can continue our friendly battle in the south!